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Secretary of State for Scotland and First Minister of Northern Ireland talk to Lords about intergovernmental relations and Smith Commission proposals

The House of Lords Constitution Committee will this week hold two evidence sessions as part of its inquiry into inter-governmental relations in the UK. The Committee will also take the opportunity to question Alistair Carmichael MP and Lord Wallace of Tankerness on the draft clauses for a new Scotland Bill, published by the Government in response to the recommendations of the Smith Commission.

On Wednesday 11 February the Committee will hear from:


  • Alistair Carmichael MP, Secretary of State for Scotland
  • Lord Wallace of Tankerness, Advocate General for Scotland. 

The evidence session will take place at 10.30am in Committee Room 1, House of Lords.


  • Peter Robinson MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland.

The evidence session will take place at 5pm in Committee Room 3, House of Lords.

In the first session the Committee will ask the witnesses whether it is realistic for there to be an expectation of equality between the UK government and the devolved administrations in intergovernmental relations. It will ask how effective the Joint Ministerial Committee is, and how it might be improved. The Committee will also explore the draft clauses for a new Scotland Bill. The Committee will ask about the impact of the proposals on the Union as a whole, and query how the devolution of fiscal tax and welfare powers will impact on the relationship between the UK and Scottish Governments.

In the session with Peter Robinson, the Committee will explore the impact of Northern Ireland's unique position on its experience of inter-governmental relations. Questions will cover the Northern Ireland Executive's experience of dealing with Whitehall. The Committee will also ask whether any changes are needed to the role of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the arrangement of the territorial departments within the UK Government.

The session will be webcast at and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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